An 18-month security breach at Rosen Hotels and Resorts affecting thousands is the latest in a string of high-profile data compromises.
The question is, what more can customers do to protect themselves?
“Our world has become so complex, the people that know about it are the few,” said Eric B. Delisle. “And the people who don’t know are the many.”
Delisle is in the business of cyber security. He founded the company ICLOAK.me, which allows users, for $99, to become anonymous online and better protected. It includes a device which looks like a USB stick.
“It’s when you need to be safe, then you use this thing,” he explained, referring to instances of monetary interactions online. “Any place where you would be putting in user names and passwords.”
But even cyber savvy Delisle has had his privacy compromised.
“I was one of the millions of people in the Target breach,” he said. “It’s a huge challenge, not just protecting your own computer, but companies you’re doing business with. It’s not just an epidemic. It’s getting worse.”
When dealing with large-scale corporations, there’s little you can do, he told us.
“There’s companies who have been hacked, and there’s companies who don’t know they’ve been hacked yet.”
Companies are already spending billions on cyber security. As one builds a wall, Delisle said the bad guys build taller ladder.
But, on a personal, consumer level, he suggested several simple things.
- Set up alerts for fraudulent activity on cards: “Almost every banking site, every credit card site, has the ability to send you an email or text message every time there’s activity on your card."
- Delisle also suggested physically typing in the name of a website into the browser and not simply moving through links. “If you get an alert that looks like it’s from your bank, and says, ‘Hey, you need to change your password.’ Don’t click on that link.”
- Finally, Delisle said it’s important to pay attention to apps that seem free and harmless. “A lot of it, especially on the Android platform, is malware. There’s all kinds of exploits that are stealing credentials from people on those.”
The bottom line, according to Delisle, is to be more vigilant and take cyber security into your own hands.
“A lot of people spend time watching cat videos,” he said. “Spend time educating. It’s the best you can do.”